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Poor families wave goodbye to Bank Holiday beach trip

Release Date: 25 Aug 2014

No-frills day trip to coast costs up to 172. One in five families can’t afford trips from any towns surveyed.

The iconic seaside August Bank Holiday is now out of reach for one in five families because their incomes are so low, Barnardo’s warns.

The children’s charity has calculated the cost of a family day at the seaside this Bank Holiday. The research looks at the cheapest train fare for a family of four from cities and county towns to their nearest seaside resort. It also includes the family price of sun-cream, fish & chips and ice-cream.

Barnardo’s finds that a no-frills day trip could cost a family with two children more than £170.00, depending on where they live. It could cost up to £172 in the South East, £127 in the Midlands, and £96 in London. The research doesn’t include additional costs such as swimwear, towels, buckets and spades, arm bands or inflatables.

Research shows that the poorest families have too little money to cover basic weekly living costs – let alone a trip to the beach. The incomes of the UK’s poorest families have declined in recent years. They have been hit hard by a toxic mix of rising living costs and working and non-working benefits cuts. Welfare reform has included measures that break the link between benefits and inflation.

One in five families currently bring in less than £423 a week for their families.2 Barnardo’s calculations reveal that - after covering basic living costs - a family of four on this income could not afford a seaside trip in any location surveyed. Minimum disposable weekly income for the poorest one in five families is £39. Yet costs for a day out range from £41 to £172 depending on where you are in the country. In fact, in one location they would have to find up to £133 extra income this week to be able to afford a trip to the seaside this Bank holiday.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan says: “Family holidays have a special place in the childhood memory box, and every child deserves to have a day out once in a while, no matter what their circumstances. “

Whatever the weather, a day at the seaside with the family is a day to treasure. It is an opportunity for children to spend a healthy, happy time and experience a British cultural tradition; to play on the beach, splash in the sea and build sandcastles. It is an opportunity every child should enjoy. “

The Prime Minister has put family life at the heart of government and promoted the ‘staycation’. Yet for hundreds of thousands of families struggling to make ends meet this weekend – a trip to the pier is but a pipe-dream.”

Barnardo’s is calling on the Government to act urgently to prevent more children growing up in poverty, by genuinely boosting the poorest families’ incomes.4 Measures should include restoring the link between benefits & inflation, and ensuring that low paid families can keep more of their earnings when Universal Credit is introduced.

FromToRail ticketsFish & ChipsSun creamIce creamsTotal

(Per region sample, full table of county trips surveyed available on request)

(1) Barnardo’s calculated the cost of a basic trip to the seaside for a family of four from each city or county town to the nearest seaside resort. Costs include rail fares, sun cream, ice-creams & fish and chips. In each case calculations assume the cheapest trip was taken, including use of family railcard where appropriate, family sun-cream, children’s portion fish and chips. The example family is two adults and two children aged five to 15 years.

(2) Households below average income statistics 2011/2012, Table 2.2db.This states that the maximum equivalised income for a family of four, with two children under 14 living in the lowest quintile of income distribution is £423.

(3) Joseph Rowntree Foundation Summaries of Minimum Income Standards for four family types, April 2014 (page 31). From these figures, Barnardo’s has calculated that a family of four would spend £384 per week in basic living costs including: food; clothing; water rates; household insurances; fuel; other housing costs; household goods; household services; personal goods and services; other travel costs; rent. After these basic costs have been deducted, an Aylesbury family living on the lowest quintile income of £423 per week would need £133 extra this week to meet the cost of a trip to Bournemouth.

(4) The Government’s figures suggest that 200,000 more children will be plunged into poverty as a result of the 2013 Welfare and Benefits Up-rating measure, which placed a 3 year ‘freeze’ on benefits uprating at 1% per year. In addition in the autumn statement 2013 the government chose to freeze in-work allowances under Universal Credit for three years – this measure will make the new benefit less generous for poor working families over time.

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